I feel the need to write a post about Wuyi Oolong. It’s probably the most heard of tea out there and is associated with one of the largest scams or marketing ploys ever to hit the tea world. I am sure any time you have searched tea, or oolong, you have seen ads and sites promoting “Wuyi Diet Tea.” Supposedly, Rachel Ray lost a lot of weight on a Wuyi tea diet.
But this goes back to the weight loss effects of tea, which has been shown to increase metabolic rates and has fewer calories than other beverages. These are probably the only two ways tea honestly helps someone loose weight, and the metabolic increase is minimal — a pound or so a year — which can be easily offset by eating just a little extra at nearly any time.
While I have not had any Wuyi diet tea, I am extremely skeptical, as in my mind anyone that has any sort of quality product would sell it for its quality and not advertise any sort of miracle benefits. To me, the joy of Wuyi comes from examining the full leaves, brewing it in a traditional Chinese style, and making almost a tea syrup out of it, so thick and rich. Now, I have had some bad Wuyi oolongs, and when they are bad they can seem very hard to drink.
Certain things Wuyi oolongs should mark when selling is how heavy the roast is and when the tea was picked. These give you a good idea of what to expect. These are important as a lighter roast often produces more floral flavors, whereas a heavier roast produces what I like to refer to as Fall baking tastes. The baking tastes are sweet and buttery with lots of spices like clove and cinnamon, with hints of apples and other Fall fruits. Due to the nature of the roasting process Wuyi oolongs undergo, when they are broken into little bits they can create very strong and astringent brews.
Also, Wuyi tea is grown typically in one of three regions: one is what translates to the “Scenic District” which is basically Wuyi mountain itself; the surrounding foothills as a second region; and slightly further out is the third. These regions are sometimes viewed as a loose judge of quality, but really it gives an idea of how rocky the soil is, a characteristic which distinguishes Wuyi, as it’s sometimes called rock tea (Yancha).
So, I encourage you if you had one of those Wuyi diet teas, do not view oolongs badly if the one you tried tasted bad, and I encourage you try some more traditional Yanchas. I am sure you will not be disappointed, as they are my number one comfort tea, soothing me in every way.
Editor’s note: This is not medical advice. Please consult your physician before starting a diet tea regimen. This article has been edited for grammar and content.
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